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Full text of "My Country And My People"

332          MY   COUNTRY   AND   MY   PEOPLE

swearing, and hell-breathing war-lords, masters unto themselves
and ruling by the grace of their illiterate fists. There were good
magistrates and bad magistrates, some whom the people loved
and some whom the people feared, but those who overstepped
their limits encountered "town strikes," and their case was
reported to the governor or the Emperor, and they were dis-
missed, transferred or punished. Thus was there a system,
however imperfect, and some sort of justice, however qualified,
and where there was justice, there was peace. There were no
civil wars, bandits were yet rare, and one could travel from
one part of the province to another with security.

For old China was not the topsy-turvydom it is to-day. If
taxation was not based on the consent of the people, it was
based on custom and usage, which was the real law of the land,
and the farmers knew what they had to pay in spring and what
they had to pay in autumn. One had not yet heard of the cofEn
tax, the wedding-sedan-chair tax1 and the pig-intercourse
tax, the pig-birth tax, the young-pig tax, the pig-trough tax,
the pig-weighing tax, the pig-butchery tax, and the pork-
in-the-restaurant tax and finally the pork-after-the-digestion-
and-in-the-toilet tax.2 One had not yet heard of the righteous-
ness tax and the benevolence tax and the civic welfare tax
and the red-hot patriotism tax, and the house-number tax,
and there was no "laziness tax" to punish the farmers who failed
to plant opium. The farmers of China did not have to sell their
wives and daughters to pay the tax, as some farmers of Kiangpei
are doing; they were not forbidden by soldiers to reap their
harvest as a reprisal for failure to pay a new tax, as the farmers
of Fanyu hsien in Kwangtung were forbidden by their magistrate
in the autumn of 1934. People were not taxed thirty years
ahead, as the people of Szechuen now are;8 they were not
subjected to farm surtaxes thirty times the regular farm tax, as
is being done in Kiangsi.4 The farmers were not compelled

* In aoathem Fttkiea.

* These various taxes are known in Swatow and Hankow.

* See t&e various numbers of the Sxcckuen Monthly, 1934.

* "Wang CMngwei, speaking on the ninth anniversary of Dr. Sun's death,
March 12, 1934, **&** "Investigation conducted by the Rural Rehabilitation
Cotnmisskai last year showed that the farm surtax collected in different
provinces sometimes amounted to from. 25 to 31 times the regular farm tax.**
{& JV*.